Thirty minutes before classes begin at Community Partnership School, students in the morning Running Club gather in a gated lot behind their school and begin doing laps, picking up a small stick each time one is completed. Physical Education teacher Nate Seidle, who began the program last year, calculated how many laps make a mile, so when it’s time to go inside, participants stop at their designated clipboard, count their sticks, and write down their numbers.
Out of the 92 students who attend the Pre-K-Fifth Grade school, between 20-30 participate; often all seven grades are represented. Each runner’s progress is charted on a large whiteboard in the cafeteria. “We often find groups of kids standing around the chart, comparing distances and motivating each other to go out and run the next day,” says Mr. Seidle. Last year, he designed t-shirts for two students who became 100-milers. He hopes and expects there will be more to come.
“I can be outside running and it’s another way to spend time with my friends,” says fifth grader Lizzy. It’s also a good way to start the day, adds Mr. Seidle. “Kids are becoming better problem solvers when issues arise during active times such as recess and P.E. It benefits their health and activity level to be outside and not as stationary.”
The Running Club underscores the school’s belief that physically active children are more healthy — socially, emotionally, and academically. Fifth grader Camelle says, “I come out here to run and to get healthy.” Second grader Asad puts it more simply. “I like to run around.”